The movie opens on a glamorous, red sequin laden, cigarette smoking woman doing stand up – the Funny Cow in the title – quite different from the club environment we are used to!
If you think this is just the British equivalent to Marvelous Mrs Maisel, you’re mistaken, there’s actually very little in common between the two. Although both tell the story of female stand up comedians making their way up in an industry, which is still male heavy, in decades where a woman comic was a very uncommon sight.
It’s refreshing to see such a strong, independent, female lead character! Maxine Peake makes the story of a female comic struggling for her spot in the 70’s club limelight come to life with a magnificent performance. Young Funny Cow Macy Shackleton and Funny Cow’s mother Lindsey Coulson both put in great supporting performances.
Despite not having experienced it myself, I’d say the writers did a good job at representing all the racism and sexism you could expect in club comics’ routines in the 70’s. I’d like to think things have improved with time.
I’ve particularly enjoyed the (not so) chronological arrangement of the movie and the tools used to show the passage of time. I was slightly disappointed to see such a male heavy crew in this strong woman led story.
If you’re expecting a comedic film, filled with laughs, you’re in for a surprise! The film portrays what is frequently the comedic creative process of using your pain in order to create art and make others laugh. The title character goes through a great deal of hardship. You have been warned!
Funny Cow is released in cinemas 20th April.